We’re now getting stuck into 2017’s flagship smartphone season and the arrival of two very important handsets for Samsung and LG – the Galaxy S8 and the LG G6. For Samsung, this upcoming launch represents an opportunity to recapture momentum after the Note 7 fiasco, while LG is looking for a turnaround after the disappointing reception of the G5. But which handset is looking the more interesting? It’s time to dive into some of the confirmed and rumored specifications to find out.
Must read: Our in-depth LG G6 review
Starting with one of the major talking points, the processing packages between the two flagships will be quite different this year. While Samsung has snagged itself first access to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 SoC and will likely debut its new Exynos 8895 in some regions too, the LG G6 is having to settle for last year’s Snapdragon 821. Both the Snapdragon 835 and the Exynos 8895 are based on a more efficient 10nm manufacturing process, as well as offering performance improvements in the region of 20 percent over the 821. This immediately sets the Galaxy S8 at an advantage both in terms of performance and energy efficiency. However, the LG G6 is going to land on shelves in March, while customers will have to wait longer for the Galaxy S8, and we certainly wouldn’t call the Snapdragon 821 a slow chip.
Other hardware rumors have pointed to a huge 6GB RAM configuration inside the Galaxy S8 and it seems possible that a lot of flagships will opt for a larger RAM pool this generation. Lower cost flagship manufacturers, such as OnePlus and ASUS, have been pushing the envelope in terms of RAM count, pilling on the pressure for more expensive handsets to keep up. However, the LG G6 and other flagships announced at MWC have opted for a still very reasonable 4GB RAM, so perhaps we should reel in our expectations for the Galaxy S8. Other reports suggest that Samsung may debut UFS memory card support via a new hybrid card slot in the Galaxy S8.
Here’s a quick overview of the confirmed LG G6 hardware specifications that and what we’re quite likely to see from the Galaxy S8.
|Samsung Galaxy S8 (rumored)||LG G6 (announced)|
2880x1440 (18:9 aspect ratio)
|SoC||Snapdragon 835 (or Exynos 8895)||Snapdragon 821|
|CPU Config||4x 2.45GHz Kryo 280|
4x 1.9GHz Kryo 280
|2x 2.35GHz Kryo
2x 1.6GHz Kryo
|GPU||Adreno 540||Adreno 530|
|Memory||64GB with MicroSD/UFS||32GB with MicroSD|
|Camera||Dual 12MP rear|
|Dual 13MP rear with wide angle lens
|Extras||USB Type-C, IP68 rating, wireless charging, Quick Charge 4, iris scanner, fingerprint scanner||USB Type-C, IP68, wireless charging, Quick Charge 3, fingerprint scanner, Quad DAC|
|Mobile $||Android Pay, Samsung Pay||Android Pay,|
|OS||Android 7.1 Nougat||Android 7.0 Nougat|
With processing hardware looking to pose a notable gap this time around, unique features are going to be more important than ever. LG begins its product differentiation with a QHD+ resolution display that features a 18:9 aspect ratio and HDR support. The Galaxy S8 is pegged to feature a familiar QHD Super AMOLED display as before, but this may feature a diamond pentile pattern that will increase the pixel density over its existing RBG layout. Interestingly, both handsets may end up offering rounded corners on their displays, which LG says helps protect against damage, as well as looking rather sleek. The Galaxy S8 is also rumored to come with a thin bezel that will push the handset towards a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, and may well rival LG’s impressively slim bezel on the G6.
With processing hardware looking to pose a notable gap this time around, unique features are going to be more important than ever.
As for cameras, LG has opted for a familiar dual camera setup. There’s the same wide angled option as last year, but both sensors now offer a crisp 13 megapixel resolution. Samsung has been rumored to be working on a dual camera setup of its own, but we don’t know if this will be a similar wide angle setup, RGB + monochrome design, or if it will feature a telescopic lens. Either way, we can certainly expect a strong camera performance from both flagships again this year.
In terms of extras, Samsung will likely be bringing many of the Galaxy Note 7’s features over to the S8. We can expect a USB Type-C port, possible at the expense of a 3.5mm headphone jack, along with the iris scanning technology that made its debut in the Note 7. Other than that, Samsung also appears to be lining up a faster wireless charging solution, fast charging, and a new optical fingerprint sensor. However, the major selling feature with the Galaxy S8 looks set to be the company’s Bixby virtual assistant. Bixby is said to be built into Samsung’s other apps to allow for deep integration and a wide range of voice controlled interactions.
To compete, LG has fortunately upped its game both in terms of offering a premium handset design and packing in extra features. LG has opted for a metal build with a glass finish on the back of the G6. There’s a USB Type-C port, wireless charging, and a premium audio DAC for a top notch listening experience. The lack of a removable battery may count against LG for some people, but this has enabled the company to rival Samsung with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance as well. It’s certainly looking like a close run thing between the two phones for those all important extra flagship features.
On paper, LG’s flagship is almost as feature rich as what we’re expecting from Samsung’s Galaxy S8. However, LG won’t be releasing its Quad DAC or wireless charging technology in every market, and it appears that European and US consumers look set to miss out. This is going to be a disappointment to many and when combined with the performance and energy advantages offered by the Galaxy S8’s newer processing hardware, customers may just hold on for Samsung’s later release. Pricing is going to be key for LG.
There’s certainly a lot to look forward to in both of these handsets, but are there are particular features that are going to sway with between these two flagships?